Author: Ellen Lupton

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A museum gallery is filled with large, undulating partitions composed of colorful threads. Through the nearest partition, a man can be seen leaning forward to smell scented objects housed in glass domes. A sign on this partition reads "Inclusive Environments".
The Senses: Descriptive Audio Tour
Ellen Lupton, co-curator of the exhibition The Senses: Design Beyond Vision, provides a descriptive audio tour through two dozen projects in the exhibition, with step-by-step guidance for visitors with blindness or low vision. Approximately 30 minutes. Part 1: Getting Started Part 2: Shaping Sound Part 3: Tactile Library Part 4: Wrapping Up (Also available on Soundcloud)....
Cooper Hewitt Takes on Verbal Description
Cooper Hewitt’s exhibition The Senses: Design Beyond Vision (April 13–October 28, 2018) is one of our museum’s early explorations in developing exhibition design that is accessible to all visitors, including people with sensory differences. Many museums do a good job making their facilities wheelchair-accessible and meeting basic ADA requirements, but it’s another matter to offer...
a still image from Synesthetic Calculus, a 2012 film by David Genco. The number 4 in orange is repeated against a muted, multicolored abstract background.
Why sensory design?
Read the introduction to the exhibition book for The Senses: Design Beyond Vision.
Photograph of Ivan Chermayeff
In memoriam: Ivan Chermayeff
Ivan Chermayeff (June 6, 1932 – December 2, 2017) was a brilliant designer, a gifted artist, and the purveyor of a unique visual language. Launching his career at a time when modern graphic design was just taking flight, he quickly became one of the field’s most influential voices. Born in London in 1932, he moved...
In memoriam: Elaine Lustig Cohen (1927–2016)
Elaine Lustig Cohen, 2015. Photo by Prem Krishnamurthy Elaine Lustig Cohen (1927–2016) was an artist, designer, and collector who made enormous contributions to art and design. She found her way to graphic design through her marriage to the legendary American modernist Alvin Lustig (1915–1955). She managed her husband’s design studio from 1948 until his death,...
A poetic transformation of industrial waste
From the archives, a past collaboration of design firm Nendo and designer Issey Miyake.
Women’s Action is Women’s Power
Founded in 1992, the Women’s Action Coalition (WAC) staged public demonstrations or “actions” to raise the visibility of women in art, culture, and society. The organization was founded in response to the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill congressional hearings, which riveted national attention on sexual harassment. Many women in New York’s creative community took part in WAC,...
The Left
This poster for an exhibition about the history of political posters features a screenprinted image of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the Argentine revolutionary whose face became synonymous with leftist oppositional movements in the twentieth century. Variations of the poster were produced by directly spray-painting different messages and marks over Guevara’s portrait.   Ellen Lupton is Senior...
Leaving on a Jetplane to Aspen
Ivan Chermayeff’s famous poster uses a system of found typography to represent the gathering of design professionals at the International Design Conference at Aspen. Chermayeff uses luggage tags to represent the array of countries from which the attendees hail. Ellen Lupton is Senior Curator of Contemporary Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and Director of the...